I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.
Noah and I had been running together since we were in high school. We were now in our early twenties and he was my best friend. I had always got along with boys better than girls. They were less bitchy and had better banter and I just preferred their company. Girls would bitch about me and call me a slut but I had never slept with anyone and I had never even been in a relationship. Noah was my best friend, he had been there for me through everything and he was especially supportive when my Dad passed away earlier this year. He was amazing and I would be lost without him.
It was 6:20 on a Sunday morning and I called up Noah to make sure he was awake for our daily run. He answered, on the first ring, as always. Every day we ended up talking on the phone until we reached the meeting point to start our run which was a broken lamppost on the corner of our street. As I waited, I warmed myself up by jogging on the spot and doing a couple of stretches until I saw Noah jogging towards me wearing a florescent pink sweat band on his head with matching ones on his wrists. Oh, and matching socks. I stopped what I was doing and stared at him with a look on my face which quite clearly said ‘Go home and get changed or I’m running alone.’ Noah looked at me and burst out laughing, I can only assume it was because he knew exactly what my face was telling him as he swiftly took off the sweat bands. He left the socks but I think I could get past that. We began to run our usual route and Noah kept telling me about some argument he’d got into with his girlfriend the night before. They argued so much it was abnormal but if they loved each other I suppose it didn’t matter, I guess I was just sick of hearing about it when he could quite easily walk away.
My favourite part of the run was this small forest that had a little clearing with a bench and we always sat there for a drink and ended up talking for what felt like hours. I don’t know what it was about Noah but we always got carried away with conversation and it was comforting. The conversations varied, one day we would talk about how amazing it would be if animals wore hats and then the next day we could talk about our political views. It was just that kind of friendship and I wouldn’t swap it for the world. Today’s conversation was about how we would react if it started raining rabbits. The outcome was that I would take as many as I could and keep them all whereas Noah said he would take as many as he could and make them into pies. And on that note, we got up and finished our run. When we got back to the lamppost, we completed our special handshake which we’d been improving and perfecting for over 10 years and gave each other a hug and wandered our separate ways.
I had a shower and got ready to go into town for some lunch with two of my friends; Matilda and Bethany, Tilly and Beth for short. I had known them both since primary school and it had always been us 3 but Tilly and Beth were closest and I was the tag along although, they still included me in most activities which was great. I decided to walk into town rather than get the bus because really, anything was better than public transport. I took my time because I knew they would both be late. It was a lovely autumn day, the air was warm but I felt a mild breeze against my skin every now and then, leaves crunched under my feet as I walked along the pavement. I studied the trees around me and the leaves were slowly dancing along with the wind preparing for winter. I found trees strange. They were the opposite of people. Imagine the leaves are what keep the trees warm, without leaves, the trees are bare and in winter, the leaves disappear whereas in winter, people wrap up and if jumpers were leaves, we wouldn’t be bare and cold. It sounds silly I know but I thought about it all the time at this time of year.
I arrived in town and to my surprise; Tilly and Beth were stood outside the café with huge smiles on their faces. I gave them each a hug and we strolled inside and chose the brown leather sofas near the open fire, none of us ever had to ask each other where we should sit, we always made our way to the sofas because that was our designated area every time we went here.
“So, I take it you’ve been on your run with lover boy this morning? Tilly said, raising her eyebrows.
“Lover boy? Leave it out, you know he has a girlfriend” I said shrugging my shoulders.
The thing is, my friends knew me so well that they felt comfortable telling me at least once a day that they knew I was in love with Noah and my answer every time was ‘He has a girlfriend.’ Which I suppose didn’t make it sound like I was denying the fact that I was in love with him but I wasn’t, well, I didn’t think I was but Tilly and Beth did and they were never going to believe otherwise no matter how much I tried to persuade them that they were wrong. The girls and I talked and laughed all afternoon and it was so good to spend time with them, it always was.
I got home and slumped myself onto my bed. I had in the morning so I needed to get some sleep but all I could think about was Noah ever since Tilly mentioned him in the café, I decided to give him a call to see if he wanted to come over and watch a film, it rang a couple of times which was extraordinary because he always picked up instantly. I heard a knock on my door so I left my phone on my bed and went to answer it. Noah was stood on my doorstep with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“She’s had enough. She’s left me.” He said under his breath.
I let him inside and make him a cup of tea.
“Have you got anything stronger?”
“Noah! It’s a Sunday night, you’re drinking tea or water.”
“Tea it is then…”
I sat next to him on my sofa and muted the TV. He explained that Sarah, who was his evil yet stunning girlfriend had come home late that evening and he didn’t understand what she possibly could want to do on a Sunday afternoon other than spend it watching rubbish tv with him so he asked her about it and she acted strange and he knew she was hiding something. He told me that he heard a car screech outside and Sarah ran up the stairs, all her bags packed.
“She didn’t even look at me, she didn’t even say anything. She grabbed all the bags and jumped into the car, I didn’t even see who it was.”
I never realised how much Sarah meant to Noah but now it was clear to me. All I wanted to do was give him a hug, so I did and he cried into me, almost falling asleep on my shoulder. It felt so nice. Oh god. Maybe I was in love with him. Or maybe it was just this moment; I hadn’t ever felt this before. I ignored it. He was my best friend and he was in need, so I soothed him.
“You know you’re welcome to stay here tonight if you don’t feel like going back to yours. ” I said, trying to sound comforting.
He nodded his head which I assumed he meant he wanted to.
“I’ll grab you a duvet and some pillows”
“Thank you Lucy.”
And that was that. He fell asleep on the sofa and I stayed wide awake in my bed for a good couple of hours. I was pleasantly drifting off until I heard my door creak open with Noah stood in his boxers by the door. He walked slowly towards me and sat next to me in my bed. I looked into his eyes, they looked sad. I saw his face slowly moving towards mine. My eyes widened. I panicked. What was happening? What do I do? He kissed me.
I placed my hands on his face and kissed him back, I knew I wanted to so I did. His lips felt so soft against mine, my eyes were closed and I didn’t feel like I had to open them, I just went along with it. My heart was beating so fast and I hoped he couldn’t hear it. I ran my fingers through his hair. He bit my lip. I lay on my back, he lay on top of me, holding my back tightly, my toes curled, my breaths became shorter, he kissed my neck over and over again and I was feeling emotions I’d never felt before, it was amazing. This felt so right but so wrong but more right. I didn’t want it to stop and it didn’t for most of the night. We fell asleep in each other’s arms so late that we both slept in and missed our run.
I woke up to the screeching of my alarm clock, it read 8:30am. My mind was flurried from the thoughts of last night, I rolled onto my side and Noah was gone and placed where he would have been was a small piece of paper. I read the note and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach.
Last night was perfect and I don’t regret it, not even slightly.
You’re beautiful, gentle and sweet and you’ve been my best friend for countless years but last night proved to me that I don’t just see you as my friend, I’ve fallen in love with you, by accident.
And the thought of you finding this out whilst I’m still around is enough for you to want to run away from me and I’m sorry but I just can’t handle that, therefore, I’m running away from you.
I am in love with you but we both know that’s wrong of me. You deserve better, someone else who is willing to take the time to learn to fully appreciate you.
Sarah came back for me and I feel like what I should do is go with her, away. Away from his place. Away from you. I suppose I do love her after all.
I’m sorry, maybe it is the best for you also.
I threw the note on my bed, ran outside and kicked the almost broken lamppost until my foot began to ache as much as my heart. I collapsed to the ground and burst into tears. I was in love with Noah and he was in love with me but he couldn’t face it meaning I’d lost my best friend.